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continuous line Bat

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Inspired by sketching activities from the Urban Field Naturalist Project , this Bat was drawn in a single continuous line. Using a ballpoint pen, I fixed my eyes on a real-life resting Bat and began to draw without lifting the pen tip from the page. The exercise suggests keeping your eyes on what you are drawing instead of on the page as much as possible.

continuous line pen ink illustration sketch drawing of flying fox bat with sensory art watercolour alcohol ink splash colours by autistic artist sara kian-judge

Later, I used watercolour pencils and alcohol inks to add some shadow, highlight, colour details and colour splashes to my continuous line drawing. The decision to splash colours outside of the Bat's body reflects the synaesthesia (cross-wired senses) that I experience in response to Bat scents. When I smell Bats, I see their fur colours bleed out of their body as streams and dots of coloured light.

While drawing the Bat in a continuous line, I also experienced proprioceptive sensations of movement. As my line progressed I felt myself at times moving forward and slightly to the right, even though my physical body was sitting still and not moving or leaning at all.

This sensation of movement along with drawing the line gave me a feeling of continuity with the Bat who I was drawing. It was as though something of myself was becoming part of the continuous line just like my story and the Bat's story were coming together in this moment of interactive resting and drawing together.

The Bat never stopped carefully watching me the whole time - I can only assume out of a combination of curiousity and caution about my presence and interest in her. It feels comfortable and right to me that the Bat watched me while I drew her - why should she not, when I was taking the liberty of watching her?

Issues of consent come up for me here - how can I inform and ask a Bat if she minds me drawing her? For now, the only confidence I have in her willingness to consent is that she remained in her spot resting the whole time and didn't move away from me like many other Bats chose to do. Like my continuous line, nonhuman consent will continue to be something I think about and open myself to experience in different ways.

*Artworks and images of artworks belong to Sara Kian-Judge 2022.

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